Top 30 things to do in Iwate according to TripAdvisor

Iwate is one of the six large prefectures on the Pacific coast in the northern Tohoku Region, Honshu island. Its prefectural capital is Morioka which is 2.5 hours away by shinkansen from the north Tokyo mountains, the place is a great attraction for its multiple rivers, vast mountains, convenient transportation hub, and the various styles of noodles. A former political and cultural center of the Tohoku region, the city of Hiraizumi is also located in the prefecture. The southern city of Hiraizumi contains a rich architectural legacy from its period as a political center in the 11th and 12th centuries. Having risen up and regained its prominence, Iwate Prefecture is grateful for all the support received in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. It's such a home to so many wonderful destinations; let's check the top 30 things to do in this devastated beautiful Iwate:

Mt. Iwate
Mt. Iwate
Iwate Prefecture’s highest peak has been selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Mountains. Like Mount Fuji, Mount Iwate also has beautiful plains at its base, and many literary works have been written about the mountain. The beautiful mountain flora bloom all at once during the summer climbing season.
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Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple
Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple
Bishamondo Temple is built into the precipitous rock wall with gigantic Buddhist statues carved into the slope. This serene atmosphere and 1300 years of history is like walking through a scene from an old legend.
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Hachimantai, The Corridor of Snow
Hachimantai, The Corridor of Snow
At the end of April, the Aspite Line road which is closed during the winter is opened in the middle of a corridor of beautiful snow. It is the sign of spring in the picturesque Hachimantai.
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Kokuseki-ji Temple Somin-sai Festival
Kokuseki-ji Temple Somin-sai Festival
During the bitterly cold and snowy February, half-naked men cleanse themselves with cold water, light bonfires, and bravely compete to grab the “Somin bag” inside Kokuseki-ji Temple. It is an ancient festival that prays for good health and a good harvest.
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Sanriku Railway
Sanriku Railway
The proud Sanriku Railway with Japan’s foremost window view of the Sanriku coastline. You will also enjoy the relaxation of having ekiben cuisine either within the gorgeous confines of the Retro Train or the O-zashiki Train which is equipped with sunken kotatsu.
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Shiofuki ana
Shiofuki ana
The Shiofuki ana are an example of picturesque scenery in Sanriku Fukko National Park that has been nationally designated as a Natural Monument. The sight of seawater that blows out of the caverns up to a maximum height of 30m is incredible. Japan’s foremost marine caves.
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Hanamaki Festival
Hanamaki Festival
The Hanamaki Festival is said to have its origins from over 400 years ago. From events such as the parade of opulent floats shining from the light of the flames to the deer dances, the festival is splendidly held thanks to the beauty of the traditional entertainment preserved by the people of the city.
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JR Yamada Line
JR Yamada Line
The Yamada Line links Morioka and Miyako. Crossing through the Kitakami Mountains, you can enjoy a slow ride and an idyllic landscape while stopping at unstaffed stations known as “hikyo-eki”. [Partly under construction]
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Morioka Mikoda Morning Market
Morioka Mikoda Morning Market
Local farmers directly bring over their seasonal produce and sell them at reasonable prices. Mikoda Market boasts the largest number of customers domestically as it is open 300 days a year. Homemade goodies like rice balls and tempura are also very popular.
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Morioka Sansa Odori Festival
Morioka Sansa Odori Festival
With the sounds of nimble flutes and wadaiko drums echoing, the citizens dance garbed in brilliant outfits. The Morioka Sansa Odori held in midsummer is a magnificent dance festival that is one of the big celebrations in the Tohoku region.
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Kitakami Tenshochi Sakura Festival
Kitakami Tenshochi Sakura Festival
Selected as being part of the Top 100 Places for Sakura and the Best Three Places for Sakura in the Tohoku, 10,000 cherry blossoms from 150 species of cherry trees appear all over in a 293ha area. It also boasts an incredibly beautiful 2km cherry tree-lined path.
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Tono Furusato Village
Tono Furusato Village
With the transfer of old houses, the pristine landscape of the Tono region and the lifestyle from those times are recreated. It’s a countryside holiday to be spent with the local elders relating old stories and teaching crafts
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Kamaishi Daikannon
Kamaishi Daikannon
The pure white stupa and Daikannon statue which were built in 1970 facing Kamaishi Bay make for a beautiful temple. Within the statue, there is the haiden hall of worship, an installation room for the 33 kannon and other facilities. From the observation point, you can see over Kamaishi Bay.
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Kappabuchi
Kappabuchi
The pool known as Kappabuchi is located behind Joken-ji Temple and is said to be the home of kappa who will play tricks on you. There are stories that if you pray at the small shrine which is dedicated to the sprites, women will get a good supply of mother’s milk.
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Fukusen-ji Temple
Fukusen-ji Temple
The massive wooden Kannon statue was carved out of a huge 1200-year-old tree by the chief priest himself, a process that took 20 years and involved the priest taking weeklong fasts 100 times. He completed his mission through prayer for bringing back the world back from confusion and despair.
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Densho-en
Densho-en
In Tono with its pastoral Japanese countryside scenery, there is Densho-en which relates the lifestyle of the old days to the present day. Know about Tono in a variety of ways such as seeing, hearing, making and eating.
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Ho’on-ji Temple
Ho’on-ji Temple
Ho’on-ji Temple is a Soto sect temple located in the quiet temple neighborhood of Kitayama in the northeast section of central Morioka. It is a famous ancient temple for Zen meditation which has enshrined 499 Buddhist statues.
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Matsukawa Geothermal Plant
Matsukawa Geothermal Plant
Since beginning operations in 1966, Matsukawa Geothermal Plant has used the heat from Hachimantai to continuously supply the local area with electricity and hot water. At the adjacent Geothermal Museum, there are displays of valuable information including Japan’s first geothermal turbine.
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Meganebashi Bridge (Miyamori River Bridge)
Meganebashi Bridge (Miyamori River Bridge)
The 5-arched Miyamori Bridge has been affectionately known as Meganebashi Bridge. The scene of the railway passing over its height of 17.8m and the wondrous nighttime illumination are popular.
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Unedori-sama Shrine
Unedori-sama Shrine
A shrine famous for the romantic legend that states that if you can tie a strip of red cloth to a branch of the tree in front of the shrine with only your left hand, it is said that you will succeed in love. The spectacle of countless bright red cloths leaves quite a vivid impression.
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Gohyaku Rakan (The 500 Arhats)
Gohyaku Rakan (The 500 Arhats)
In respect to the lives lost during one of the greatest famines in the 18th century, the chief priest of Daiji-ji Temple entered the mountain and carved the 500 arhat statues into natural rock. The statues enshrined in the mossy forest take on a mysterious spectacle.
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Miyako Jodogahama Boat Cruise
Miyako Jodogahama Boat Cruise
Cruise through the interesting site of Jodogahama and enjoy the visually spectacular scenes of places like the nationally-designated Natural Monument of Candle Rock and Meoto-iwa Rock. The seagulls that chase after the boats are cute.
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Sekinoichi Sake Brewery
Sekinoichi Sake Brewery
Sekinoichi Brewery has earned influential awards not just for its sake but also for its craft beer. Along with sake tasting, there is also an adjacent restaurant serving regional cuisine so that you can enjoy a wide variety of local sake.
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Hachiyozan Tendai-ji Temple
Hachiyozan Tendai-ji Temple
Tendai-ji Temple was established in the ancient Nara Era. With its history of magnificence and tragedy, it is the oldest remaining temple in the Tohoku region. The statue of Buddha carved in the natabori method cannot be missed.
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Nataya-cho
Nataya-cho
A castle town where the brewing industry which included miso, sake and soy sauce from the Edo Era flourished. Although the current townscape was built during the 19th century, it still relates the spirit of the machiya from the old times.
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Unosu Cliff
Unosu Cliff
A scenic spot close to Kita-Yamazaki by Sanriku Fukko National Park. In the center of the cliffs which soar as high as 200m, wild birds such as Japanese cormorants abound and nest there in a beautiful untouched area of nature.
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Michinoku Folklore Village
Michinoku Folklore Village
Beginning from the Jomon Era which existed in the Kitakami River Valley, historical buildings from the old times such as the Edo and Taisho Eras have been moved and reconstructed on the natural hills. The transitions in the lifestyles on the Kitakami are traced from the houses.
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Matsukawa-so
Matsukawa-so
Matsukawa-so is located in Hachimantai National Park which shows natural beauty all throughout the seasons. Travelers will be warmly greeted by the natural milky-white waters and dishes using local ingredients. The view from the open-air baths is spectacular!
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Hashino Blast Furnace Ruins
Hashino Blast Furnace Ruins
The ruins of a blast furnace which was built in the 19th century in the throes of modernization from the end of the Tokugawa Era and into the Meiji Era. Hashino was built in the mountains with the essential resources for high-grade iron manufacturing and is said to be the oldest surviving blast surface.
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Takamuro Suiko-en
Takamuro Suiko-en
There are facilities such as a traditional Japanese garden and an angled house of the Nambu domain provided on the wide grounds, and you can have a day trip including a bath and a meal there or stay overnight. At the pond in the Japanese garden, you can also enjoy fishing.
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Sukawa Kogen Onsen
Sukawa Kogen Onsen
An onsen with a great amount of water bubbling through the side of the mountain at 1126m. From the bare lava rock, beautiful flora sprouts up on the mountain where you can enjoy the rustically-beautiful hot spring.
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